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Delegates Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson; Riley Moore, R-Jefferson; Jill Upson, R-Jefferson; and Harpers Ferry resident Scot Faulkner proudly stand in front of the bridge they were successful in naming the “Major Martin Robison Delany Memorial Bridge” after the highest ranking African-American officer in the Civil War. (Journal photo Jeff McCoy)

From The Journal, April 20, 2017

Building Bridges: African-American Civil War major’s name lives on

CHARLES TOWN — Martin Robison Delany was a physician, journalist, abolitionist major in the Union Army and newspaper publisher. He was also an African-American, and accomplished all that before, during and after the Civil War.

Born free in Charles Town, Virginia — now West Virginia — Delany was taught to read and write from an early age by his mother, who was also free. His father was a slave working as a carpenter. At that time in Virginia, it was illegal for any slave or African-American to learn to read or write. Delany’s mother fled to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania with her children after it was discovered she was teaching them to read. Delany’s father purchased his freedom a year later and joined them there.

Major Martin Robison Delany

Delany grew up and was one of three African-Americans accepted to Harvard Medical School. In short order, he had to leave after students and others protested their attending. Undeterred Delany ended up in Pittsburgh where he studied medicine and was apprenticed to several doctors. He also began writing articles supporting the abolitionist movement and founded the newspaper The Mystery. Later he went to work with Frederick Douglas on the famous North Star Newspaper.

During the Civil War, he spoke to men about enlisting. He also wrote to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton requesting “to command all of the effective black men as Agents of the United States.” His request was ignored. In 1865, Abraham Lincoln met with Delany and found him “a most extraordinary and intelligent man.” Within weeks he was commissioned as a major in the Union Army. He spent his life fighting for rights of ex-slaves.

Today, local citizens and political leaders have come together to make sure that Delany will not fade into history. Harpers Ferry resident Scot Faulkner contacted Delegate Jill Upson, R-Jefferson, and asked for help on getting a bridge named after the accomplished man. The bridge crosses the Shenandoah River and is higher than the Washington Monument at its tallest point.

“It was Mr. Faulkner who contacted me about the naming of the bridge and said he had been working on it and wasn’t having any luck in previous years, and so he asked if I would help with it,” Upson said. “I was able to not only introduce the resolution, but I had enough support from members of leadership that it actually went somewhere this year.”

For Faulkner, it was an important accomplishment.

“The only way we are going to keep our civic culture intact for future generations is for them to have these physical touchstones that show us and remind us of who we are and why we are,” Faulkner said.

Delegate Riley Moore, R-Jefferson, helped pass the resolution. The 1,400-foot bridge is in his district.

“I’m proud to have the largest bridge in Jefferson County named after, and immortalized, in the memory of such a monumental resident of our county and an American patriot, Maj. Delany,” Moore said. “I think it’s fitting to have a structure of this size named after someone with such monumental accomplishments for our country and I’m proud to count him as a Jefferson County resident and native.”

Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, also helped push the resolution through.

“There are a lot of resolutions introduced each year, but I think the resolution that Delegate Upson helped draft just really outlined what an exceptional individual Maj. Delaney was,” Espinosa said. “I think the fact that even President Abraham Lincoln was so impressed, in such a short period of time that he had a chance to speak with Mr. Delany, was so impressed that he subsequently recommended his appointment as major.”

Upson said the idea of the resolution was well-received.

“Actually I got a lot of kudos from around the Capitol saying this is really a good idea, we just read about him, we think it’s great,” Upson said.

Faulkner said naming the bridge for such an important person in history means a lot to the county as a whole.

“If you look at a lot of bridges in this area, they are named after highway commissioners and bureaucrats down in Charleston,” Faulkner said. “We had an opportunity to take a person that truly had national significance. He was a major abolitionist and of course the highest ranking African-American during the Civil War. He is a person that was born free and he had to flee the area. The largest bridge in the county should be named after a large figure in the county.”

Read the text of the bill – HCR41…

Read more about Major Martin Robison Delany…


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A Confederate-dug trench line makes an ‘S’ turn as it follows a hillside contour at the former Camp Bartow.

by Rick Steelhammer, for the Charleston Gazette, February 11, 2017

The core section of Camp Bartow, a fortified encampment with still-visible earthworks built by 1,800 Confederate soldiers, has been preserved and will eventually be opened to the public following its recent purchase by the West Virginia Land Trust.

The encampment was built by soldiers from Georgia, Arkansas and Virginia who occupied the site for several months during the opening year of the Civil War, and it was used to fend off an attack by a much larger Union force during the Oct. 3, 1861, Battle of Greenbrier River.

The 14-acre tract, bought with assistance from the national Civil War Trust, Pocahontas County Commission, state Division of Highways, Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance and First Energy Foundation, overlooks the East Fork of the Greenbrier River and borders a still-used segment of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, a strategic east-west supply route during the Civil War.

The site also overlooks Travellers Repose, a 19th-century inn serving Turnpike users that was torched during the Civil War but rebuilt on the same site a few years after hostilities ended.

Read the entire article….


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The Civil War Trust now has the opportunity to save 243 acres at four battlefields in Virginia and West Virginia. We are saving a vital tract at the heart of the Cedar Creek battlefield in Virginia, as well as additional acres at another Virginia battlefield, New Market Heights—a battle in which 23 members of the United States Colored Troops received the Medal of Honor. In the Mountain State, we are preserving a massive 200-acre tract at Harpers Ferry, which figured prominently in the 1862 battle and siege. Lastly, we are saving the first acres ever preserved at Greenbrier River, scene of an early war clash in West Virginia.

Take advantage of a $14.96-to-$1 match and help us save these four battlefields!

Click here for more information….

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Photo: Civil War Trust

Photo: Civil War Trust

An 11-acre parcel of the Shepherdstown Battlefield was purchased through negotiations by the Civil War Trust assisted by Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission.

Read the entire story via the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission…



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Now Available: The Battle of Charleston

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char_flat_500_webThe Battle of Charleston, and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign

by Terry Lowry

The Battle of Charleston (West Virginia), fought September 13, 1862, between the Confederate forces of Gen. William Wing Loring and the Federal command of Col. Joseph Andrew Jackson Lightburn, pales in comparison to many of the more well-known and documented engagements of the American Civil War. Yet the battle and the activities comprising the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign, particularly Lightburn’s subsequent retreat, beginning at Fayetteville and ending at Point Pleasant, were of much more strategic importance than readily meets the eye and held special meaning for many of its participants.

One such individual was Sgt. Joseph Pearson, Company F, 44th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who wrote about the battle of Charleston in his journal, “We had several killed and wounded in this affair, but it was only a skirmish to what we afterwards learned of war. Yet I was more impressed with the dread[ful] feeling of that little action than all the others I was in to the finish.”

The 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign has long been neglected by scholars, probably due to the great national attention placed on the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign, which took place during this same time period. Owing to the meticulous work of author/historian Terry Lowry, it has finally been given its due.

487 pages, 8.5×11 trim size, hard cover, 332 photos and images (many never before published), 11 maps

Available here from 35th Star Publishing….

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mike smith retirement july31 2016

[L-R]: Terry Lowry, Hunter Lesser, Billy Joe Peyton, Mike Smith, Steve Cunningham, Rick Wolfe

After 34 years of faithful service to the state of West Virginia, Droop Mountain Battlefield Superintendent Mike Smith has retired.  Smith was also responsible for nearby Beartown State Park.

To honor his many contributions to preserving and interpreting the Droop Mountain Battlefield, West Virginia historians honored Mike with a surprise lunch party on his last day at the park.

More info on Droop Mountain Battlefield….

Read a article on Mike Smith by Rick Steelhammer of the Charleston Gazette…


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Steven C. French

Steven C. French

The Hagerstown Civil War Round Table presented Steven C. French with its 2016 Henry Kyd Douglas Award. French, a former middle-school teacher, is the author of “Imboden’s Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign” (2008), which was recognized with three prestigious awards; “Rebel Chronicles: Raiders, Scouts, and Train Robbers of the Upper Potomac” (2012); and a monograph, “The Jones-Imboden Raid against the B&O Railroad at Rowlesburg, Virginia” (2001).

Read the full article here…

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ShepherdstownWe need your help. We have been advised that in order for Senator Manchin to sponsor legislation to expand the boundaries of the Antietam National Park to include the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown, his office needs to hear from many WV residents. If you reside in WV please send an email to Senator Manchin urging him to introduce the necessary legislation at:

Also, cc his representative in the eastern panhandle at:

In addition, if you are a resident of Jefferson County, it would help our cause by contacting the Jefferson County Commissioners urging them to support the legislation by contacting Senator Manchin’s office. Their email addresses are: , , , , .

This is important; please make every effort to email our elected officials.

More info on the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association….

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JamesBroomall2Shepherd University has named Dr. James L. Broomall as director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War.

Click here to read the entire press release as well as listen to an interview with Dr. Broomall…

More information on the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War…


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ShepherdstownFor Immediate Release – July 27, 2015
Shepherdstown, West Virginia

In early July, The Department of Interior released the final study documents of the National Park Service’s (NPS) Special Resource Study (SRS) of the Shepherdstown Battlefield. The Battle of Shepherdstown occurred on September 19 and 20, 1862 involving approximately 8,000 to 10,000 troops and resulted in 677 casualties.

The SRS concluded that the 510 acre site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown would be preferably included within the Antietam National Battlefield Park. The SRS studied various options and possible boundary adjustments including an assessment of including the Shepherdstown site within the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. “As such, each of these boundary adjustment options is included in the study alternatives, with Antietam National Battlefield being the preferable option due to its historical and geographical connections to the Battle of Shepherdstown.”

The 1862 Maryland Campaign of the Army of Northern Virginia included battles of South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, Antietam and a battle ending near Shepherdstown in what is now West Virginia. The SRS concluded that: “The inclusion of the Shepherdstown battlefield into Antietam National Battlefield would provide visitors the opportunity to have an expanded understanding of the events directly following the Battle of Antietam and the culmination of the Maryland Campaign. The SRS further concludes it “would propose to adjust the existing boundary of Antietam National Battlefield to include areas of the Shepherdstown battlefield that contribute to an understanding of the significance of the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign.”

In early 2012, the NPS held two scoping meetings seeking public comments regarding the proposed SRS. “In total, approximately 136 people attended the scoping meetings. … Public response received by the National Park Service was predominately supportive of the study and enthusiastic concerning the interpretation and protection of the Shepherdstown battlefield.” The preliminary SRS was released in August 2014 and a public review period was conducted for two months. During this period, 334 individuals corresponded with the NPS. Two public meetings were held in September attended by approximately 93 individuals. “ Commenters expressed overwhelming support for” … the management option that the…“Antietam National Boundary Adjustment as the most effective and efficient way to preserve the    Shepherdstown battlefield.”

“If Congress were to authorize a legislative boundary that would encompass the Shepherdstown battlefield as part of … Antietam National Battlefield, there would be no change to existing landownership…” “Any change to land ownership or use would be in the future as the National Park Service is able to acquire battlefield land from willing sellers and donors.”

The effort to involve the Federal government in helping to save and preserve the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown has been the result of the work of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association     Inc (SBPA) and its individual members. SBPA is a non-profit corporation, organized in 2004 dedicated to saving and preserving the core of the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown. Approximately 105 acres have been saved through conservation easements and land purchases. Aproximately $1.1 million has been raised to save battlefield land through grants and membership contributions during the last ten years. If you would like to help save more of the battlefield and learn more about SBPA, please go to:



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